SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education

Huan Cheng-lin, Chen Jian-wei

American Journal of Educational Research

SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education

Huan Cheng-lin1, Chen Jian-wei2,

1College of Computer Science, Yangtze University, No.1 Nanhuan Road, Jingzhou, China

2Yangtze University College of Technology & Engineering, No.85 Xueyuan Road, Jingzhou, China


In recent years, MOOC has become a global innovative movement in education, also caught the attention of the higher education in china. Some traditional universities have joined MOOC movement and cooperated with foreign MOOC platforms and domestic internet enterprises to provide MOOC and translated some MOOCs into Chinese to meet the domestic learning demand. Facing the MOOC movement, colleges and universities must re-examine their own positioning according to the actual situation to choose the corresponding development countermeasure. This paper will conduct SWOT analysis on the conditions of developing MOOC in higher education of china in order to provide policy reference.

Cite this article:

  • Huan Cheng-lin, Chen Jian-wei. SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 4, No. 6, 2016, pp 488-490. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/4/6/8
  • Cheng-lin, Huan, and Chen Jian-wei. "SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education." American Journal of Educational Research 4.6 (2016): 488-490.
  • Cheng-lin, H. , & Jian-wei, C. (2016). SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education. American Journal of Educational Research, 4(6), 488-490.
  • Cheng-lin, Huan, and Chen Jian-wei. "SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education." American Journal of Educational Research 4, no. 6 (2016): 488-490.

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1. Introduction

MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is an online course of open access, and for the purpose of mass participation. In recent years, MOOC has become a global innovative movement in education, also caught the attention of the higher education in china. Some traditional universities have joined MOOC movement. As a novel thing, the development of MOOC involves national education career, cultural diffusion, talent training, community service, economic investment, etc. We need to combine the actual national conditions and colleges to inspect carefully and research fully. The paper conduct SWOT (namely advantage, weaknesses, Opportunity and threats) to analyze the background of China's higher education to develop MOOC, in order to formulate the corresponding development strategy, plan and countermeasure.

2. SWOT Analysis on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education

2.1 The Analysis of Advantage

(1) National strategy and policy support. In March 2015,"Internet +" action plan was established as the national strategy in government work report, which begins a new development ecology by using information technology and Internet platform. Then promoting action guidance for "Internet +", which was issued by the state council, explicitly put forward to explore new education services via the Internet in supply, promote the change of education service mode. Massive open online courses for global users, which fully reflect the Internet thinking in the application of large data, taking the student as the center, and free thinking, etc., just adapt to the development of "Internet + education " grand strategy. Development of MOOC in China will benefit from implementation of national strategy.

(2) The urgent need in transformation of higher education is strong driving force to develop MOOC. With the rapid development of China's economic and social, the existing higher education structure has been unable to adapt to the requirements of current economic transformation and industrial upgrading [1]. The inner demand will provide strong driving force for the development of MOOC. MOOC is different from the network courses in general and video courses, etc. It not only provides resources, and realizes the whole process of teaching. Learners can complete online learning, discussion, homework and examination, obtain scores and certificate. This means that the campus fence is broken, and it will be disruptive changes in university functions. MOOC, in itself, is to the new development of higher education.

(3) Practices of Open Education. MOOC is in fact open education based on the Internet. As the world's largest open education system, the national Open University supported by modern information technology, which covers both urban and rural, is large scale and strong openness. Especially after 2000, the ministry of education approved the 68 universities to carry out the modern distance education pilot. Relevant institutions carry out academic education and non-academic education based on modern communication network, and issue higher education qualifications for students who meet graduation requirements, and recognized by the state. After years of development, the network education has accumulated some experience in talents cultivation, teaching management, learning system, quality standards and guarantee, resources construction.

(4) Network course development experience. Since 2003, the ministry of education issued “the notice about start-up high school teaching quality and teaching reform project-Fine course construction”. Thereafter, thousands of national fine-designed courses and open course were constructed [2], which accumulated experience about network course design and development, and form a batch of course development team. The survey on "national fine course construction model" [3] shows, in most of the colleges and universities (64.8%), that the high-quality curriculums were developed by teaching team and modern education technology center by joint production. Co-production model is better integration of the professional advantage of teaching team and technical advantage of education technology department.

2.2. The Analysis of Weaknesses

(1) Network infrastructure is relatively backward, manifested mainly in broadband speed and cost. "Global competitiveness report" from 2013 to 2014 showed that network bandwidth speed ranked 118th around the world, far behind the European and American. At the same time, the Internet fee is higher, which increase the cost of access to information.

(2) The stagnation in the legal construction of education. The development of MOOC requires the support of perfect policy system, including copyright protection system, credit qualification authentication system and evaluation system, intercollegiate MOOC course mutual recognition system, and so on. And related legal construction is still in its infancy, it will hinder the development of MOOC.

(3)The lack of sustainable development mode. The development of MOOC needs constant capital injection, however the body of MOOC is colleges and universities, constrained by the teachers, market experience, economic aid and other limitations, which cannot undertake the task of development high-quality MOOC. A large amount of risk fund and charity fund to entering into MOOC is an important reason for rapid development of MOOC in America. But in china, the development of venture capital and the charity fund is relative slow. At the same time, the current online education investment profit is low, long return period, and ability to attract funds is not outstanding. So, reasonable commercial mode is difficult to create.

(4) The Weaknesses of curriculum resources [4]. On the one hand, high-quality curriculum is scarce. Although we have constructed a lot of high-quality courses and video open courses, but it is not good enough to accept massive online teaching evaluation. On the other hand, there is no corresponding online course standard and evaluation mechanism.

(5) The lack of online learning culture on participatory. Three big trends in open education is infrastructure, open education resources and online learning culture on participatory [5]. Professor Jian-li Jiao, who has been committed to the education technology research, thought that really big problem is the third. In China, both teachers and students, whose online learning experience is almost zero, is not only difficult with learning skills and methods, more important is an ordeal in the matter of consciousness, ideas, and individual psychological features.

2.3. The Analysis of Opportunity

(1) Promoting education fairness. Education fair, which is the core value of modern education, especially for large population, limited resources, unbalanced development of China, has more prominent significance. First of all, more and more people can accept higher education because of MOOC, especially for those who are from poor people. Second, different from the traditional course plan, MOOC meets the needs of further learning for the career people, who can't study because of the problem such as time, region, and so on. Moreover, MOOC can provide community course according to the economic, social and cultural development in order to meet people's demand for lifelong learning.

(2) Promoting the transformation of higher education. The change of talent training mode is the core to transformation of higher education. Currently single training mode caused excess of theoretical and academic talents, and the lack of skilled talents. A variety of training modes are required to achieve a balance. MOOC develops varied course models based on different teaching concept and characteristics, including cMOOC based on connectionism and xMOOC based on behaviorism learning theory. MOOC practice model can be a whole MOOC; also can integrate traditional teaching to do hybrid teaching.

(3) Cultivating Creative Talents. Different with general education advocated by United States and other countries, Chinese university is taking the road of professional education. The famous educator Liu Dao-Yu once said that "professional division in special education is too small to adapt to the rapidly changing market demands and to cultivate outstanding talents". Although people recognized that general education is an important way of cultivating innovative talents, but for many years the education pattern has not changed. Will MOOC be an opportunity to do? For the time being, general courses and basic courses is more suitable for large-scale.

(4) The wisdom teaching. Big data is an important manifestation of Internet characteristics. All learning behavior in MOOC will be automatically recorded to be collected into “learning big data”. Through the analysis and mining learning large data, course developers can constantly improve the teaching system according to online learning habits. Teachers can understand and find out the learning rules, so as to provide more targeted teaching and counseling. The students understand their own learning status, optimize learning path according to the mastered knowledge and skills, power occupation planning according to the knowledge and ability structure.

(5) Expand the internationalization of Higher Education [6]. According to statistics, only four months on-line Coursera has registered more than 1 million students, who are in 119 countries around the world, the United States accounted for 38.5%, Brazil 5.9%, India 5.2%, and China 4.2%. This means that learners keen on Coursera in China has exceeded forty thousand [7]. Along with the economic globalization, the globalization of education is imperative. It is a good plan to provide high quality Chinese MOOC for the whole world.

2.4. The Analysis of Challenges

(1) Colleges and universities are under pressure of both external competitions and internal interests restructure. The development of MOOC is likely to create a phenomenon that the stronger school is, the better it will be and vice versa [8]. When a variety of institutions working on MOOC engaged in attracting students, excellent universities have absolute advantages. These famous universities can also benefit from the MOOC, increasing their global influence and gaining greater credibility. Therefore, ordinary colleges and universities are harder to survive. In Colleges and universities, the development of MOOC is a process of interest reorganization, which is bound to encounter long-term challenges of reform. When it comes to the ordinary staff or decision makers, the greatest barrier to transformation is the lasting inertia of former structures.

(2) The alteration to teachers’ role and developments of profession. When the important function of propagating knowledge is partially or fully replaced by MOOC, teachers have to re-examine their own orientation and the future of their career. Free access to famous lessons taught by well-known teachers in MOOC made those online teachers become stars in their fields. In the meantime, the counterparts from other schools of the same fields facing the consequences: to be an assistant of those "stars", change a career or be replaced.

(3) Data sharing and privacy protection. The sharing data of MOOC is a double-edged sword. It needs data to share and carry out teaching research while protection on the privacy of students is also needed [9]. Recently, some studies have deleted the personal characteristics in data protect students' privacy. Nevertheless, it has been found that the process will greatly distort the data, which cannot meet the needs of studies. Therefore, great number of policy need to be adjusted and new technology on data sharing should be invented at the same time to meet the purpose of data sharing via MOOC.

(4) How to ensure the quality of MOOC, and win the trust of the community. “Being recognized" is very important for MOOC to be successful. The credibility and quality of network education should be guaranteed in virtue of a test. When MOOC providers are talking about the future mode of operation, they will provide service certificate, employment recommendation services as the primary means of profit, therefore how to put an end to "for learning" or "cheating", and how to ensure that the credibility and the gold content of "certificate". The MOOC providers are trying to solve this problem, but the people who suspect MOOC will not change easily.

3. Suggestions on the Development of MOOC in China's Higher Education

(1) Take MOOC into the university development strategy

When formulate development plan, University should be follows the world development trends and response to the national strategy, and take the massive open online courses into the 13th Five-year Plan.

(2) Deepening the reform and innovation of the teaching mode

Using big data, cloud computing and mobile Internet and other new technologies to actively explore new teaching models, such as online learning, blended learning and flipped classroom, which can be integrated into classroom teaching and personnel training practice, to improve the efficiency of classroom teaching.

(3) Strengthen the cultivation of teachers and students' literacy in participation

In order to succeed in the online learning, it need not only master information technology, but also need a series of personal qualities and skills, including self-motivation, self-discipline and regulation, efficient time management, online work independently and collaboration ability etc. University must strengthen the cultivation of teachers and students' literacy in participation, build online learning atmosphere, and help teachers and students to master method in online learning.

(4) Carry out MOOC step by step planed

MOOC is a novel and rapid development things. Universities cannot blindly follow the trend to develop MOOC. We should strengthen the research, especially on the basis of national excellent courses and video open class. There are plans to carry out step by step, even after the pilot to promote in order to push forward steadily.

4. Conclusions

From the above analysis, we can see that undertaking MOOC in China's higher education has the opportunity to implement transformation and upgrading, but also face the challenge of reality. The advantages include the national strategy supporting, practices of open education, team of course construction and so on. But deficiency is also obvious in infrastructure, mechanism construction, learning concept problems. Colleges and universities need design in top from development strategy, and carry out exploration and research step by step based on the education idea and practice mode of MOOC.


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